News Briefs

December 19, 2023
The United States launched a multilateral task force to safeguard commerce in the Red Sea in the face of repeated attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Countries joining the U.S.-led operation included Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The Houthis have threatened to target Israeli ships as well as those heading to Israeli ports. The attacks have prompted oil companies such as BP and Frontline as well as shipping firms such as Maersk to divert shipments around the Red Sea.
-- Reuters
December 6, 2023
Iran launched a 500-kilogram biocapsule, developed by the Aerospace Research Institute, into space. The capsule, which reached an altitude of 130 kilometers before returning to Earth, was carried by a rocket called Salman, produced by the Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).
-- Tasnim News Agency
November 21, 2023
Iran unveiled the Fattah-2 missile during a visit of the Supreme Leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force museum. The missile had a primary rocket motor similar in appearance to that of the earlier Fattah missile, unveiled in June, but it differed in its wedge-shaped re-entry vehicle apparently powered by a liquid-propellant engine. Iranian media stated that the missile's maximum range was 1,500 kilometers.
-- Janes
November 21, 2023
The United States expressed concern that Iran may provide Russia with Ababil and Fateh-110 short-range ballistic missiles to use in Ukraine. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had viewed displays of the missiles during a visit to Tehran in September. U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that, in return, Iran wants to purchase combat aircraft, radars, and attack helicopters from Russia. He added that Russia has already helped Iran on its space program and has offered cooperation on missiles, military electronics, and air defense.
-- Wall Street Journal
November 15, 2023
In a quarterly report to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had amassed 128.3 kg of uranium enriched up to 60 percent fissile purity, an increase of 6.7 kg since the last report. In a second report, the IAEA said it had made no new progress in its investigation into the origin and current location of manmade uranium particles found at two undeclared sites, Varamin and Turquzabad. Nor were there any developments in the Agency's push to re-install monitoring equipment that had been removed in June 2022.
-- Associated Press
November 14, 2023
The United States issued a new 120-day sanctions waiver allowing Iraq to purchase electricity from Iran. In total there is roughly $10 billion in Iraqi payments held in escrow in Iraq. The waiver kept a provision in place that allows some of the proceeds from the payments to be transferred into accounts in Oman, where they can be converted to other currencies for Iran to spend on humanitarian goods after a vetting process.
-- Associated Press
November 13, 2023
Iran's Deputy Defense Minister Mahdi Farahi said that his country's arms exports totaled about $1 billion in the year ending March 2023. Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani had said in June that exports of items developed by Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) had tripled in the Iranian calendar year ending in March, compared to earlier years.
-- Tasnim News Agency
November 9, 2023
Yemen's Houthi rebels shot down a U.S. drone on November 8. The Houthis have also launched three rounds of attacks against Israel. In the first, in late October, a U.S. Navy warship operating in the Red Sea shot down projectiles launched by the group. In the second, on October 27, drones caused explosions in two Egyptian Red Sea towns. In the third, on October 31, Israel used its Arrow defense system to destroy an incoming ballistic missile.
-- Al Jazeera
October 26, 2023
Malaysian authorities seized two ships, the Artemis III and the Ocean Hermana, that were allegedly engaged in an illegal ship-to-ship transfer off the coast of Malaysia. According to the U.S.-based nonprofit United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), the tankers were transporting Iranian oil. The Artemis III is registered in Honduras but managed by Chinese companies, while the Ocean Hermana is registered in Panama and managed from India.
-- The Maritime Executive
October 24, 2023
Over a one-week span, Iran-backed groups launched 10 drone and rocket attacks against bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq, and another three against a base in Syria. For more than six months previously, the groups had refrained from such attacks as part of an apparent undeclared truce between the United States and Iran. The U.S. Department of Defense believes that Iran may now be encouraging the strikes. According to U.S. officials, the United States is sending air defense systems to locations in Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
-- Wall Street Journal